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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Choosing A Good Japanese Shochu


I am no connoisseur of sake (Japanese rice wine) let alone shochu so I asked a Japanese friend to recommend a good bottle for me.

Choosing A Good Shochu in Japan

He suggested a shochu called "Satsuma Island Princess" (Satsumajima Bijin) from Kagoshima Prefecture and distilled from sweet potatoes. Satsuma is the old name for Kagoshima prefecture and also the origin of the name "satsuma" for tangerine oranges (mikan) in Britain.

Shochu can be made from a variety of base ingredients including sweet potatoes, barley, buckwheat or sugar cane. The Okinawan variant, awamori, is made from long-grain rice.

I took a trip to my local Liquor Mountain and asked the baito (part-time shop assistant) for the brand. Of course, in the tradition of all such part-time employees, he had no idea, probably not even being of the legal age to drink, which is 20 in Japan.

Japanese Shochu from Kagoshima

He called the manager who found the bottle for me. The label was well designed and oozed quality. So, after parting with 1700 yen (about 17 $) I took my 1.8 L bottle home to try or should that be dry?

Shochu is very easy to drink mixed with water and ice and is deceptively strong at around 25% proof.

Island Princess is a name to remember if you want to take home a liquid souvenir of Japanese shochu.

Choosing A Good Japanese Shochu

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